Like the Wind
Danielle explores the ‘why’ of running with Like the Wind.
Disclaimer: I will inadvertently try and sell running to you within this article.
So far this year, I’ve been dealt a personal curveball or two. Not the ‘smack you in the face at 4pm on a Tuesday’ sort, thankfully, more the kind you see coming toward you from afar. The slow burner. You hope it isn’t actually aimed at you, so you ignore it… but the longer you do that, the harder it gets. This particular curveball made the beginning of 2023 un peu difficile, shall we say.
With spring finally on the horizon however, things have started to feel a little… l i g h t e r . Still, one thing that suffered alongside me in January and February? My ability to get myself out of the front door and run.
I’d say I’ve ‘been a runner’ since I moved to London a little over five years ago. I’d tried it before then—for a few months while living in Edinburgh and again while I lived in Sheffield, but it never stuck. I struggled to push through to the to the fabled ‘other side’ (translation: to stick with it long enough that my body grew strong enough for me to be able to enjoy it). So what changed? Well, I finally found community.
Though it’s often touted as a solo sport, it’s been through the act of connecting with others that I’ve been able to fully fold running into my life. Don’t get me wrong, a solo run on a Sunday morning is (when the weather/my mood allows) one of my favourite things to do, but it’s the social, supportive side of the sport that keeps me lacing up every week—especially through the dark, cold nights of a British winter.
And that friends, is what Like the Wind captures oh so well. This isn’t a running magazine about gaining an extra ab or two, pricey gear listicles or which leafy green, protein-infused super vegetable will bring your half marathon time down by a minute (probably spinach?), this is a magazine about the communities that come into being through running—professional, recreational and total beginners. This, it's worth noting, is what is so special about independent magazines in general. To riff off Like the Wind's tagline, it’s not about how we run, but why.
I remember the first issue I ever thumbed through. I picked it up while living in Sheffield (if only I could remember where?) It was issue #10, which I still have on my shelf. Its cover is matt black. There’s a white title logo sitting on top of the deep pink tagline ‘it’s why we run’, and underneath, there’s a photograph of someone’s right shoulder, complete with running-inspired tattoo.
Inside, there are stories about running and beer (could there be a sweeter union?), running as a means of putting down roots, a trail running adventure in Corsica, and the cover feature ‘Ink That Runs’ on runners’ tattoos and the stories behind them. That, and pages jam-packed with illustration—another of LtW’s editorial signatures. It's safe to say, I was hooked.
Not long after discovering the mag I moved to London and, alongside all of my worldly belongings, I brought my newfound urgency to run. Within weeks of arriving in the bright lights of the big city, I was in touch with LtW’s editor Simon Freeman and creative director Julie Freeman Kummer (who also happen to be married, correct) and shortly after, I had a piece on running as a queer person/settling into my new life in London in the quarterly print edition.
At this point, I’d just bought myself a new pair of shoes and was either running solo or dipping my toes into different, local running clubs (that weren’t quite the right fit). Still, I kept at it and with a subscription to LtW, I found that often all it took to nudge me into getting out for a quick 5k was losing myself in a story in the latest edition. That might be a feature on someone who’d discovered running worked to soothe their overactive mind (can confirm ✌🏼), a meeting of kindred spirits within a crew of PoC runners, or those (re)building confidence after an injury/childbirth/alongside disability. Within the pages of a magazine, I discovered the stuff of motivation.
Fast-forward five years and LtW—now based out of Julie’s native Switzerland, rather than London—is sitting pretty on our shelves at issue #35. Though the publication hasn’t changed much format-wise since I first picked up a copy, its (largely) reader-created content has continually evolved to become more diverse and far-reaching, while still accompanied by vibrant illustrations and dynamic photography.
What also hasn’t changed is the heart of the publication: community and the why of running. In the latest issue stories fall under titles including ‘Connection: Indigenous Running, Landscape, and the Evolutionary Dawn of Running as Prayer’, ‘Belonging’, ‘Summer Miles’ and ‘Sad Girl Track Club’ (which is a great name for a run club). It’s a theme that comes up again and again with magazines, particularly those that zero in on something particularly niche—they bring us together. And what could be more important right now if we're to truly make positive change in this world?
Image: Kole Fulmine, Queer Running Club
As for me? While I struggled to pull on my shoes earlier this year, I always managed at least one run a week—with my club on a Tuesday evening (the after-run pints were particularly healing). Much like the stories that make up LtW, it’s the people that make up my much-loved crew, Queer Running Club, that mean I’m now back on track, and happily at that (I’ll stop gushing now).
To sum up this love letter to indie magazines and running, if it’s motivation that you seek, you'll find it here. Whether you’ve never run but have always wanted to give it a go or you’ve taken a break (intentional or otherwise) and need a little oomph to get yourself back into it, Like the Wind might just get you out of the door.
And on that note, I’m going to get out for one while the sun’s peeking through the clouds...
Editor Simon Freeman
Co-editor Imogen Lees
Creative director Julie Freeman Kummer
Co-creative director and designer Alex Murphy
Queer Running Club Community Fundraiser donate here